Middle East

Yemen tribal fighters bomb main oil pipeline

Attack puts Maarib pipeline out of commission, stopping vital revenue stream for Sanaa government.

Last updated: 12 Jul 2014 12:45
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Previous attacks on gas pipelines caused fuel shortages in Yemen [EPA]

Tribesmen have bombed Yemen's main oil export pipeline halting crude flows, local officials said, disrupting an important source of revenue.

The attack on Saturday hit the pipeline which carries crude from the Safer oilfields, in the al-Habab area of Maarib province, to Ras Isa oil terminal on the Red Sea, the officials said.

The pipeline carries about 70,000-110,000 barrels per day of Marib light crude. It was repaired in late May after a previous attack by tribesmen.

Yemen's oil and gas pipelines have repeatedly been sabotaged by rebels or tribesmen since 2011, causing fuel shortages and slashing export earnings for the country.

Tribesmen carry out such assaults to press the government to provide jobs, settle land disputes, or free relatives from prison.

Attacks on the crude pipeline cost Yemen about $400m in lost revenue in the first quarter of 2014, the interior ministry said in May.

Yemen is struggling to restore state authority after Ali Abdullah Saleh was forced to step down from the presidency in 2011. It relies on crude exports to bolster foreign currency reserves and finance up to 70 percent of government spending.

Meanwhile, the UN Security Council called on Shia Houthi rebels on Friday to leave the northern Yemeni city of Amran, which they seized in a major advance towards the capital, Sanaa. 

The council's 15 members threatened targeted sanctions on those impeding the political transition process in Yemen and renewed their support of the president Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi.

Amran, 50km north of Sanaa, fell into rebel hands on Tuesday after a three-day battle that has uprooted about 10,000 families, according to the Red Crescent.


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